Red Planet hunts for new writing talent

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ITVRed Planet Pictures and ITV have launched the 2020 Red Planet Prize, a bi-annual competition to find new writing talent. 

The winner will receive a script commission and the runner-up will get development opportunities with ITV. 

The 2020 prize will see the judges focus their search on four-part contemporary thrillers across various genres - psychological, conspiracy, relationship, crime or political - and returning procedural series pertaining to crime, medical and legal themes. 

To be considered, writers will be required to submit: 

•    An existing original spec script, full length and for any medium, TV, film, radio and theatre
•    A one to two-page pitch for an original TV serial or series idea for ITV  
•    A short CV highlighting any writing credits (these are not essential to enter)
•    Screenwriters must be based in the UK and Eire. The idea should not be in development with another broadcaster or independent company.  

Submissions will open online on March 27th with the closing deadline of April 3rd 2020. The shortlist masterclass will take place in May 2020 and the winner will be announced in July 2020. 

Up to ten shortlisted writers will be invited to a one-day pitching masterclass with Tony Jordan, award-winning writer and CEO of Red Planet Pictures, and ITV drama execs. They will then have three weeks to write up their pitch and series outline. 

Chloe Tucker, ITV drama commissioner, said: “ITV is the home of mainstream drama. Our shows need to be noisy, unmissable and appeal to a wide audience, which means reflecting and celebrating the diverse makeup of the UK today.

"We are looking for brilliant storytellers and particularly encourage writers from underrepresented communities. ITV is for everyone, across background, race, disability, sexuality, gender identity and expression.”

The Red Planet Prize was launched in 2007, with previous winners including Robert Thorogood who created Death in Paradise, and 2016 winner Tom Nash, who is also now a regular writer for the series.

2018’s winner, Devlin Doyle currently has a project, Devoted, in development with Red Planet Pictures and is lead writer for Dontrod Entertainment on a video-game project.